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Shell In Court Over Its ‘Dire’ Exacerbation Of The Climate Crisis

Above photo: Getty Images.

Shell squared off against seven environmental groups in a Dutch appeals court on Tuesday 2 April, with climate activists accusing the multinational oil giant of failing to implement a landmark 2021 judgement – worsening the climate crisis.

Shell: ‘one of the largest polluters in the world’

Judges at the Hague District Court ruled three years ago that Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. They said it was contributing to the “dire” effects of climate change.

That ruling was a historic victory for climate change campaigners. It was the first time a company had been made to align its policy with the 2015 Paris climate change accords.

Shell, which called litigation “ineffective” to address climate change, is appealing the 2021 ruling, while environmental groups accuse the oil giant of failing to take action.

Milieudefensie is the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth. Its head Donald Pols said:

Justice delayed is justice denied. I hope this case will change the way that Shell does business… as it is currently one of the largest polluters in the world.

We are very confident. We have been working for more than two years towards this moment.

Four days of hearings are scheduled in the case.

A new study revealed by Milieudefensie and fossil fuel research group Oil Change International revealed that:

Shell will continue to invest billions of dollars in (new) oil and gas projects for decades to come

It also made the final decision to approve construction of 20 major oil and gas projects, including six in 2023 alone.

Milieudefensie’s lawyer Roger Cox said

The scientific basis on which we’ve founded our claims against Shell has only solidified.

In court it’s facts that matter. That’s why I am confident that we can once again convince the judges that Shell needs to act in line with international climate agreements.

‘Nothing to see here’

Shell hit back ahead of the hearing, denying it was ignoring the 2021 court ruling.

It said it believed the 2021 verdict “was ineffective and even counterproductive in tackling climate change,” but denied it was ignoring it.

Shell said it was investing some:

$10-15bn between 2023-25 in low-carbon energy solutions,” representing 23% of its total capital expenditure… If this judgement is upheld, it will have far-reaching consequences for Dutch business, employment and the Dutch investment climate.

The 2015 Paris accords committed all nations to cut carbon emissions to limit warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and encouraged them to go down to 1.5 degrees.

All this comes after Shell recently backtracked on some climate pledges. As the Canary previously reported, on 14 March UK oil and gas giant Shell watered down key targets on cutting carbon emissions, sparking anger from climate campaigners – but still kept its pledge for net zero by 2050. “Piss holes in the snow”, one writer called it.

On top of this, Shell also revealed it paid its CEO £8m last year – igniting yet more fury.

A decision by Dutch judges is expected within the next three months.

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